Our Love Affair with Doner Kepab, and Other News

Trip Start Aug 31, 2009
Trip End Jan 08, 2010

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

I have been very busy since we got back from Belgium, one week I had class six days in a row, and last week I had class three days and Al and I spent the other days doing some more exploring. During our recent exploration we found a fabulous new Doner Kepab place.  We’ve enjoyed Doner Kepab’s (yes that’s how they spell it here) a few times now in Germany but we found this amazing place conveniently located close to our apartment.  Doner Kepab’s are a Turkish dish that involves a rotating giant slab of meat (usually lamb, I think), portions of this slab are carved off to order and stuffed into a roll or pita bread along with salad and a variety of dressings, it’s delish.  The place we found specializes in chicken kepab’s and bakes their own rolls in house, they are SO GOOD and not to mention a better alternative to our second love, currywurst and pommes (fries).  Mmm, European food.  We also found a brewery that bends the absurd German Purity Law and makes some amazing beer, the first cream stout and honey-ginger beer we’ve seen since arriving.  Of course, it’s just a tiny brewery that doesn’t bottle or distribute, but it’s probably going to become our new hangout despite the fact it’s about a twenty minute commute from our apartment.  Just kidding...kind of.

In other news we have lots to look forward to in the next few weeks.  Next week I have class a bunch (again, boo) but Alex has another appointment at the alien registration office, attempt number two to get his work visa.  LOTS is riding on this appointment (which I will explain shortly) so cross your fingers for us.  The week after (November 4-8) we are going to PARIS!  I cannot wait, I’m so excited!!  I bought a used copy of a Rick Steves Guide to Paris yesterday (for only 6 Euro!) and I can’t put it down.  There is so much to see and do in Paris I’m having a hard time prioritizing it all.  Of course I’ve loved all the places we’ve traveled so far and would genuinely be interested in going back to all of them but for some reason Paris seems like the biggest and "best" place in Europe.  I’m also a little apprehensive about the whole trip, French is a language I’m not at all familiar with and I know pickpockets are far more common there than they are anywhere we’ve visited thus far.  I just can’t believe in two weeks I’ll be seeing the Eiffel Tower with my own eyes, walking down the Champs-Elysees, visiting the Louvre, and drinking authentic French wine.  Paris is just one of those places everyone talks about, it's so famous, maybe that’s why I’m so excited and nervous.  Anyway, after we get back from Paris I have another week of classes and an exam but then Wendy arrives!  We are SO EXCITED to have visitors and see familiar faces again, we miss everyone back at home so much!  The day after Wendy arrives we will take the train to Leipzig (a smaller town in Germany) to watch Alex’s rugby game and then soldier on to Prague for a few days.  After Prague we’ll head to Krakow, Poland for three days and take a day trip to Auschwitz.  I’m really looking forward to visiting Eastern Europe, I don’t know much about it yet, it seems so mysterious. 

Finally, we recently discovered a bit of a dilemma that might throw a wrench into the second half of our Europe adventure.  Initially I had planned to take online classes through UM next semester instead of doing another semester at the Berlin School of Economics.  I do not want to spend another semester at BSE for several reasons, most notably because of the way they’ve handled my exchange in general (dropping the ball on finding us housing, forcing me to repeat classes I’ve already taken, making me wait weeks for a student ID that I needed for class AND public transportation – in short, being bureaucratic Germans about everything) and because I can’t transfer ANY classes back to UM next semester, essentially I’d be doing an entire semester of classes for nothing.  UM used to offer online MBA classes a semester or two ago, however apparently because the technology isn’t up to par they have removed this option.  This is problematic for me because I need to be enrolled in school full time to receive the second half of my student loans next semester.  That leaves us three choices: One, I could stay at a school I’m not fond of, work my butt off for nothing, receive the second half of my student loan and thus put us $7,000 more in debt, and get to stay in and travel throughout Europe until May.   Two, we could stay in Berlin until May like we planned (assuming Alex can successfully obtain a work visa AND full time work, neither of which are guaranteed at the moment), I could attempt to get a job (again, assuming it’s actually possible to get a work visa here which I’m not convinced of yet), hope that we earn enough to live here, we could drain what little is left in our savings and investments to supplement in the meantime and pray we both get great jobs when we come back to the U.S. so we can start rebuilding our nest egg.  Three, we deplete our already dwindling bank accounts, continue traveling through Europe in January and February once my classes are over and come home once we run out of money, which let's face it, might be sooner than February.  Of course if we come home early (in February) jobs aren’t necessarily plentiful in Montana then, Alex wouldn’t be able to get a teaching job until the following fall anyway, and we would be back in the same place we were just a few months ago.  We're also expecting most of our visitors in the spring, something we'll miss out on if we come home in February.  This is kind of a pickle.  I know there's always the option to come back to Europe someday but I don't think we'll get a chance to have an experience quite like this ever again, I will be really disappointed if we have to leave Europe early.  We welcome any thoughts, comments, or suggestions anyone has on this situation.  Most of these decisions hinge on Alex's visa appointment Tuesday so send positive vibes our way! 

In the meantime I plan to spend most of today doing homework, I need to prep for my presentation tomorrow, work on the presentation I have next week, and most importantly, I need study up for our Paris trip.  Alex has an away rugby game today in a town about an hour from here.  He is riding there with his teammates and I didn't want to intrude but I'm there in spirit cheering him on, I know he'll do great.  Also, I came across a most pleasant surprise yesterday: Europe observes Daylight Savings (or the end of it, I should say) a week before the US.  As of today and for the next week we will only be seven hours ahead of most of you which is throwing me off a little, but you know I’m thrilled whenever an extra hour of sleep is involved.
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